Spider-Man at last opened on Tuesday night on Broadway, having already been playing to audiences for six months of “previews” that produced disastrously bad notices, injuries to five actors who fell off the set or crashed from the hanging wires, and the eventual firing of Julie Taymor, its original director.

When creative stars explode, they do so with a more spectacular bang than the average sufferer from a midlife crisis.

Christian Dior this week fired John Galliano, its 50-year-old chief designer, for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks to a couple in a bar. He denied the claims but it seems that he told others in the same bar: “I love Hitler” and that their forefathers would have been “gassed” – a video of Mr Galliano slurring those words was published by The Sun.

Dan Bogler

Avatar has been declared the “future of movies” and it may be – though perhaps not quite in the way Hollywood thinks. Barely a month after launch it has generated more than $2bn in ticket sales, becoming the top-grossing film of all time. Its popularity is almost entirely down to the amazing 3-D special effects rather than a compelling plot or a roster of bankable stars, since it has neither of those. Is this the point where, once-and-for-all, technology overtakes talent as the driver of box office success? Pixar’s animated features, after all, have already shown the way. And since technology tends to get cheaper every year, while movie stars don’t, perhaps this signals a shift in the industry that puts power and profits back into the hands of the studios. This is not true of Avatar itself, of course. Reputedly, director James Cameron stands to make even more ($400m) than News Corp’s Fox ($300m), as shown in yesterday’s results. But as 3-D effects become commonplace, studio’s won’t need a James Cameron behind the camera every time.

John Gapper

Good luck to the search committee of General Motors in finding a new chief executive.

The abrupt departure of Fritz Henderson from the job this afternoon under pressure from Ed Whitacre, GM’s chairman (and temporary replacement as chief executive) leaves the company looking for someone to take his place. Read more

John Gapper

The Companies & Markets section of the US edition of the FT has the following headlines today:

Apple leaps ahead with 47 per cent surge in profits Read more

John Gapper

I went to see Bolt, the new Walt Disney film, this weekend (along with my target audience). I watched it in 3D with the help of a pair of Elvis Costello-like spectacles given out at the door.

Bolt is one of the new wave of 3D films now pouring out of Hollywood in an effort to give the technology another chance. The 3D films of the 1950s initially caused great enthusiasm and talk of a revolution but the excitement fadedRead more

John Gapper

I was reminded the other day that it currently costs £13 to enter Kew Gardens as a visitor. Since I grew up in Kew, I happen to be an expert on the history of the entrance fee to Kew Gardens and it is mind-bogglingly high compared with the past.

Forgive the middle-aged reminiscence but, when I was a child, it cost three pence (yes, a thrupenny bit)  to get into Kew Gardens. Upon decimalisation in February 1971, they put the price down to one new penny, or 2.4 old pence. Read more

John Gapper


My FT column this week is on the London premiere of Sex and the City and what it, and the show, says about the future of film and television. You can read it here and comment below.